Category Archives: Events

Q&A with Roger Tagholm

By | Author, Events | No Comments

Roger Tagholm is a freelance journalist and author who has been writing about the book industry for nearly 30 years. He contributes regularly to Publishing Perspectives and The Bookseller, and writes a fortnightly industry round-up for the London Book Fair website. He’s written features on the book industry in China, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, and is the author of Poems NOT on the Underground (Windrush Press) and Walking Literary London (New Holland). He’s the co-author of Walking London’s Parks and Gardens, also published by New Holland.

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Nominate: The Unsung Heroes of Publishing 2017

By | Agents, Author, Brand Publishing, Design, Digital, Editing, Events, Freelance, Ghostwriters, Grads, Network, Publishing & Consultancy, Self publishing, Startup, Students, Translation | No Comments

Unsung Heroes 2017

It’s that time of year again: time to spread goodwill and show some appreciation for your favourite colleagues, freelancers and employees. After last year’s inaugural vote, we are particularly looking forward to this year’s Unsung Heroes of Publishing campaign, where we hope to highlight a new group of exceptional publishing specialists.

This year, we’d once again like your help shining a light on publishing professionals who are particularly talented, enterprising and trusted in their respective roles, but who may not have received the broader recognition they deserve. Last year’s campaign confirmed what great stock authors put in their editors and designers. This year we want to celebrate some of publishing’s less visible – and less lionised – contributors, with a focus on the breadth of disciplines needed to make good books happen.

Whether you want to sing the praises of your production controller or recognise your recipe developer, we’re hoping for a range of submissions that reflects the diverse skillset each book represents. We’d particularly encourage you to nominate members of the freelance community, on whom so much of publishing depends but who, by the nature of what they do, often fly under the radar.

Whoever they are, if they deserve a pat on the back, send us an email below or to info@wearewhitefox.com with their name, job title, employer (if relevant) and a few sentences about what makes them praiseworthy. Let us know whether you’re happy for us to use your name and statement if your nominee gets selected, and that’s it!

The final selection will be influenced by recommendations, but also by the number of submissions received. So if you know that other people agree your nominee deserves extra recognition, ask them to submit their own recommendation, too.

 

Nominate a deserving colleague for #UH0P17!

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More freelancers, fewer office parties

By | Events, Freelance, Network | No Comments

An astonishing statistic this week: nearly one fifth of Londoners are registered as self-employed. Actually, looking at the publishing industry landscape, it’s not all that surprising. As businesses across a range of industries look to cut overheads, reducing the number of in-house staff and relying on outsourcing jobs to freelancers is an increasingly popular option.

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‘The geography of publishing’ in the 21st Century

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In James Salter’s recent novel All That Is, Salter uses the wonderful phrase ‘the geography of publishing’ to describe the networks of individuals in the late 20th century who worked on different lists, in different countries, but who liked the same books and kept in touch. They would meet, drink and gossip at the annual Fairs and gatherings and on work trips throughout the year – work trips that required little justification other than a possibility that you could be in the right place at the right time when something interesting came up.

Something like this this still happens, of course. Publishers and editors in their 40s and 50s have established networks of like-minded peers in companies across the world. But what does this geography look like, these days, and how important is it? Are the epicentres of decision-making, once in New York and London, now in Seattle and Luxembourg? These days, isn’t it more likely that international connections exist within a single company conglomerate, where the unquantifiable value of human interaction might be perceived as a smaller return on investment than a round robin email? (And is all this really more about, say, French MBA grads raising money to brief Latvian digital developers on creating new Software-as-a-Service products?)

The very premise of e-publishing breaks down many of the traditional borders and boundaries. It isn’t just that your typesetting can be in India and your printing in Dubai. Decisions made on the basis of algorithms applied to consumer behaviour seem more interesting now to CEOs than books thought up in the bar of the Hessischer Hof hotel in the early hours of a Frankfurt October morning.

At whitefox we are seeing what it is like to work with brands who have specific content marketing strategies in different countries. With writers who are published in one territory, and who are looking to self-publish and market their own work in another. And with our freelancers, who work anywhere and everywhere. Talent is talent, no matter what the time zone.

But we do share in some of the nostalgia for past times. Not for elitism or perpetuating a literary reading culture defined by a select few. But for the serendipity of the creative and intuitive travelling publisher-magpie. I was in a meeting room in the 90s when Penguin’s Peter Mayer and Peter Carson returned from a trip to Barcelona and threw a battered orange box full of small 100 peseta books across a long board room table. Short form digestible fiction and non-fiction, both commercial and literary, in cut off paperbacks, all under 100 pages, and sold alongside the gum and the cigarettes in Spanish kiosks.

They became the model for the millions of Penguin 60s sold in 1995. (Think a 20th century version of the burgeoning Kindle Singles.) Sometimes you can just be in the right place at the right time.

A Guest Post from Clare Conville + Free Festival Tickets

By | Events, Publishing & Consultancy | No Comments
[intro]Since co-founding Conville & Walsh in 2000 Clare Conville has agented some of the most prestigious writers of our time. This year she has curated an exciting new entry in the UK’s literary calendar. The Curious Arts Festival will take place in the grounds of Pylewell Park in Hampshire from the 18th to the 20th of July, when the family seat of the Barons Teynham will play host to a succession of writers and musicians from Craig Brown and Rowan Pelling to Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit.

whitefox has two free tickets to the festival to give away to one lucky reader. To enter, simply email your name and address to info@wearewhitefox.com. Entries will be pulled out of a hat at the end of the week. Good luck! [/intro]

While some of our finest publishers battle it out in Seattle in the hopes of securing a future for our trade (and by extension our culture), I find myself engrossed in the small print: train times to Lymington, the dietary requirements of very special authors, where Joan As Policewoman is going to sleep on Saturday night and anxious, secret googling at 3.20am in the morning to look at next week’s weather forecast. Yes, you will have guessed it – I am co-curating the Curious Arts Festival at Pylewell Park which runs from 18th-20th July and if ferocious discounting by Amazon doesn’t get me first then surely the combined levels of anxiety, adrenaline and good old-fashioned madness that are essential to propel one through organising a festival surely will.

Grounds

A fair question would be: why do it? Surely life as an agent at Conville and Walsh is busy enough? To be truthful: yes it is. At this stage in the run-up to next week’s launch I can’t really remember why I said I’d do it apart from the fact that Paddy Keogh, my partner in crime, is charmingly persuasive. However, if I can find the time to stop and think about it I do believe passionately that there is a direct correlation between the unstoppable rise of the literary festival culture in the UK and the increasingly boringly transactional way people buy books. In challenging times authors, agents and publishers must change the way they think about how they find readers.

Authors have to become “authorpreneurs” and actively seek out new ways to promote themselves, often without quite enough support from their publishers and agents. Publishers have to become impresarios, coaxing “influencers” and the press into taking interest in the books in the first place and constantly looking for new and interesting platforms to promote them. Curiously, a festival at its best can offer everybody a new experience and I believe that the devil is in the detail, even if it does mean getting up at 4.30am to start sending e-mails, because a sense of detail is something that a Seattle algorithm can’t supply. So our aim for our artists, writers, and musicians alike is that they will arrive at Pylewell Park and have an incredible stay: the beds will be comfortable, there will be flowers and chocolate in their room, and drinks and meals will run throughout the day courtesy of The Feast of Reason. Children and dogs are welcome too.

Clare Conville

We also aim to ensure that our paying visitors have a marvellous time: a dazzling programme of events, a beautiful camping site in the incredible grounds of the park with unbelievable views of the Solent, delicious food and drink and a wonderful and comfortable pop-up bookshop run by Waterstones, Lymington, where there will be hourly signings (but where you can also snuggle up in an armchair and read a book).

In addition, Curtis Brown will be running a film tent, there’ll be loads of activities and events for children including A Jabberwocky Hunt, a Pestival Walk and donkey rides. If you want to take a different journey through the festival, breathing lessons, life-drawing classes and bibliotherapy are all available. Our aim is to make Curious, unique and unforgettable, a place, rather like one’s own bookshelf or a gorgeous local bookshop, where the familiar, the much loved and the fresh combine. We want Curious to be a festival that artists, guests and visitors will return to again and again, part of a vibrant culture that the great and the good of international publishing are trying so hard to preserve on our behalf. So, do join us!

Clare Conville

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